Martinez' career started with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1992, as a relief pitcher. He was traded to the Montreal Expos for Delino DeShields, and became one of the top pitchers in baseball. In 1997 he posted a 17-8 record for the mediocre Expos, with a 1.90 ERA and 305 strikeouts, winning the Cy Young Award. Martinez was traded to the Boston Red Sox in November 1997 for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr, and was soon signed to a 6-year, $75,000,000 contract by the Sox. In 1999 he enjoyed one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time, finishing 23-4 with an ERA of 2.07 and 313 strikeouts, as he won his second Cy Young Award. In the playoffs, though hampered by an injury, he finished and won game 5 by pitching 6 shutout innings against the Cleveland Indians. In the ALCS, he pitched 7 shutout innings to beat the New York Yankees in game 3, handing them their only loss of the postseason. Martinez' numbers were slightly down in 2000 but they were still good enough for a third Cy Young Award. He was injured for much of 2001 as the Red Sox slumped to a poor finish.
Martinez is unusual for a power pitcher as he is only 5'11", and 170 pounds. His pitches include a 95+ mph fastball that has a lot of movement, a deceptive change-up, and a very effective slider.